Letter to My Senior Self

Last week, I received an email from Dragon’s freshman English teacher.  “Mrs. Kim,” the email started, “I hope this email finds you well.”

It turns out that one of the exercises she does every year with her Freshman class is that she has each student write a letter to his “Senior Self.”  As this school year comes to a close, she is starting to distribute these letters to the graduating seniors.  Dragon would have been a senior.  She had just come across Dragon’s letter.  The letters are sealed, so she hadn’t read it.  She wanted to know whether I wanted it?

Oh boy. So, as a freshman, my son wrote a letter to the person he would become, four years later.  But, he is not here to read it.  I asked her if she could send it home with Hannah next week.  In her email, she had explained that some kids take the exercise seriously, writing down their impressions on their world thus far in life.  Other kids are kind of silly about it.  Which would it be for Dragon?  Would there be secrets?  Hopes and dreams?  Sage advice?  What words of wisdom did my 14 year old have for himself?  Would he mention his mother, his family? Would it be a letter to us now from the other side of the grave?

How is it possible that my child is not here to read this??

Infinite love.  Infinite sadness.

And then the day got worse.

As I pulled into the parking lot, I received this text from Hannah: “Bridget (one of the class presidents) is preparing her graduation speech and wants to know what you want her to say about Dragon.”

I want her to say nothing.

I want her to say everything.

I love that she is asking this question.

I hate that I am being asked this question.

Dragon won’t get to walk across the stage and pick up his diploma.  He won’t get to throw his graduation cap into the air.  His role in graduation will be this mention in this speech, and I am grateful for even that.

How do I summarize all that Dragon was in a 30 second sound byte?? Why not just summarize his life in a haiku?

5 syllables, then 7, then 5.

Funny kind handsome bright
Mom it’s going to be okay
I love you Dragon




  • Dollaya
    Posted at 19:33h, 07 May Reply

    Heart opening. Heartbreaking. Amazing. Amazingly difficult. Love you, Grace! You’re going to get through this. Big hugs. Love, Doll

    • Grace Kim
      Posted at 06:07h, 08 May Reply

      Somedays I wonder, Doll, am I going to get through this? How?

  • Jennifer
    Posted at 20:55h, 07 May Reply

    Grace my heart aches for yours. I know these milestones are super extra tough (if that’s even possible than what you face every day) Please know I am here for you. Always. One phone call away.

  • Melissa
    Posted at 00:42h, 08 May Reply

    Oh Gracie. I was at the 15th reunion for the GSB last night for Diego’s class and all I could think of was the photos of you and I, together, smiling, so happy to see one another, in that same room. And it was your before…. and I remember your big wide smile… cause it was Before. And now you live in After. After just is absolutely blisteringly painful. The milestones keep coming at you, don’t they? Caroline cried in the car on the way home from school the Wednesday before prom, weeping, cause “Tata isn’t here to complain that my dress is too low-cut and that the slit is too high” cause she worked the prom, as a 9th grader. It never lets up. I’m holding your hand, Gracie. I love you.

  • Laurie
    Posted at 01:11h, 08 May Reply

    So very sorry for your continued loss. In these seasons of life, I hope you are surrounded by love and beautiful thoughts of Dragon! My heart aches for you and what could have been for your little boy!

  • Thao
    Posted at 04:56h, 08 May Reply

    Oh sweetie, I just read this and wished I had read it before today’s meeting so I could have given you an extra long hug. Thank you for sharing and being vulnerable during this difficult milestone. Love you. Thao

  • Tami Reece
    Posted at 06:17h, 08 May Reply

    Grace….I love you! I’m sending you a hug. Thank you for sharing your words. I hope that you find some comfort in knowing that in your sorrow and weakness and feeling like you can’t make it through, God is strengthening you and carrying you. I wish that all of us mamas could somehow take a tiny piece of your pain until it is all gone. Blessings!

  • Senia
    Posted at 19:15h, 08 May Reply

    Grace, I cry so much each time I read one of your posts. If it affects me this much, I can’t even begin to think how you are doing when you think it and when you write it. Thank you for keeping sharing your thoughts. Especially ones like this – I want her to say nothing, I want her to say everything.

    And milestones… His friends will get married. His friends will have kids. Like Melissa says, you’re going to keep having painful milestones. Unfortunately, it will continue. I wish I could tear that away from you.

    It’s like a friend of mine said, “there are funerals, and then people still have lunch the next day.” It still continues. And how could it? And why should it?

    And I don’t know, in answer to your answer to Doll, I don’t know – will you get through it? How? I don’t know, wonderful Grace. I’m so sad that the graduation milestone is so painful, and it would need be painful – it’s a big one.

    Dragon was the only Dragon. I’m glad you made ice cream together that time. I’m glad you had many good moments and times. I’m so sad that that isn’t there anymore. I’m sending you the best possible wishes. He’s missed. By his friends. By your friends.

    I’m glad Bridget asked Hannah. Regardless of how painful that she did ask, I’m glad she asked.

    I’m left wondering what he wrote in his letter to himself? Was it the haiku? Or something else?


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